Monday, March 23, 2009

Magical Merlin and His King

The tales and legends of King Arthur and his court are a wonderful mixture of romance, magic and myth. If you have not yet met the “once and future” king, try these titles while you wait patiently for winter to melt away.

Go to the source by reading Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. First published in 1485, this series of tales was the first to chronicle the tales of Arthur, Guenever and the Knights of the Round Table.

T. H. White’s classic, The Once and Future King, is the book that inspired the Broadway musical, Camelot and the Disney cartoon classic, The Sword in the Stone. This however,is not a children’s book, and as the tale progresses the characters and the story itself become dark, tragic and more complex.

Mary Stewart wrote a quartet of books on Merlin, beginning with The Crystal Cave. This Arthurian series focuses on Merlin and what the wizard felt he had to do to protect Arthur and Brittain. (Other titles in the series are: The Hollow Hills and The Last Enchantment.)

For a totally different and feminist take on the Arthurian story try The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. In this Bradley presents the legend as a power struggle between Morgaine, a Druid priestess of Avalon, and Gwenhwyfar, the Christian Queen of Camelot.

And for a look (via DVD) at Camelot and the Arthurian legends try the new (2004) film, King Arthur, starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightley, followed by a video tour of King Arthur’s Britain. Meg
[The idea for this post came from an article in Library Journal by Neal Wyatt.]



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